Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Benghazi Gaining Traction 

For months, liberal elites and their media allies have mocked conservatives for caring about the Benghazi scandal. But watching three grown men -- a Marine, a security expert and a career Foreign Service officer -- moved to tears by this gross injustice has evidently moved some in Big Media to care enough to start asking questions. 

In addition to today's revelations (see next item) is the fact that other major networks are starting to compete for stories. Other than Fox News, Sharyl Attkisson of CBS has had the field almost entirely to herself. Attkisson is an award-winning journalist who did some good reporting on Operation Fast and Furious. 

But she has been fighting with CBS over Benghazi. Politico reported this week, "CBS News executives see Attkisson wading dangerously close to advocacy on the issue… Attkisson can't get some of her stories on the air." 

That is a perfect marker of the media's mindset, which has almost turned into a mental disorder. The liberal censors at CBS are accusing her of "advocacy" for daring to question the administration. That is exactly what a free press is supposed to do! 

We expect the independent, free media to hold those in power -- whoever they are -- accountable to the people. Our Founding Fathers believed so much in a free press that they put the right to free speech in the First Amendment! 

Obama White House Ordered Political Edits To Talking Points 

Now Jonathan Karl at ABC News has joined Attkisson and Fox with breaking news this morning that the Obama White House ordered the CIA talking points to be altered for political reasons. 

According to Karl, "ABC News has obtained 12 different versions of the talking points that show they were extensively edited." 

Now, we already know that the talking points were edited, but a bit of history is useful here. Consider what White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in late November about the talking points:

"Those talking points originated from the intelligence community. They reflect the [intelligence community's] best assessments of what they thought had happened. The White House and the State Department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two institutions were changing the word 'consulate' to 'diplomatic facility'…" [Emphasis added.]

Did you get that, my friends? Weeks after key congressional leaders were demanding Susan Rice's resignation for making false statements, the White House was still insisting that there was only a "single adjustment" to the talking points. 

Earlier this week, Carney stated that any changes were purely "stylistic and nonsubstantive." Really? It took "12 different versions extensively edited" to make nonsubstantive stylistic changes? The CIA must have some really poor writers! 

Karl's sources tell him that it was Victoria Nuland, the State Department's spokeswoman, who insisted that all references to terrorism be stripped out of the talking points. In one of her emails to the White House, Nuland writes that the CIA's information about terrorists and Al Qaeda, "could be abused by members of Congress to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that?"

Here a top State Department official is making a political argument, knowing that the administration is vulnerable on this issue. The White House clearly understood the danger. From Jonathan Karl's report:

"In an email dated 9/14/12 at 9:34 p.m. -- three days after the attack and two days before Ambassador Rice appeared on the Sunday shows -- Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes wrote an email saying the State Department's concerns needed to be addressed."

So now the White House is ordering the CIA to change the talking points! General David Petraeus, then Director of the CIA, wasn't happy about it, but he followed his orders. 

Again, it is too early to assess the fallout from these revelations. This news is breaking on a Friday, as many families are heading out of town for college graduations and getting ready for Mother's Day. 

House leaders are promising more hearings, and there is serious talk of bringing Hillary Clinton back to Capitol Hill for additional testimony -- this time under oath. 

The evidence of a scandal is beyond dispute. Ron Fournier of National Journal writes today that it is "unseemly" for any White House to try to finesse a tragedy, adding that Obama's credibility has been damaged.

Victoria Nuland should resign immediately, as should Jay Carney and Ben Rhodes. I hope more journalists will realize there is a real story here of government corruption and cover-up.